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  • Author: Steven B. Kamin
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper reviews the available evidence and previous research on potential effects of financial globalization, that is, the international integration of financial markets. In particular, we address the questions: Has financial globalization materially increased the influence of external developments on domestic monetary conditions? And, has it reduced the influence of central banks over financial and economic conditions in their own country? We find that central banks with floating currencies retain the ability to independently determine short-term interest rates and thus influence broader financial conditions and macroeconomic performance in their economies. However, domestic financial conditions appear to have become more vulnerable to a wide range of external shocks, complicating the task of making appropriate monetary policy decisions. Moreover, the financial crisis has highlighted the importance of cross-border channels for the transmission of liquidity and credit shocks. With financial transactions increasingly being undertaken in vehicle currencies such as dollars and euros, the liquidity provision and the lender-of-last resort functions of many central banks are being challenged. Accordingly, international arrangements for liquidity provision may become increasingly important in the future.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Interest Rates
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jian Wang, Jason J. Wu
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper attacks the Meese-Rogoff (exchange rate disconnect) puzzle from a different perspective: out-of-sample interval forecasting. Most studies in the literature focus on point forecasts. In this paper, we apply Robust Semi-parametric (RS) interval forecasting to a group of Taylor rule models. Forecast intervals for twelve OECD exchange rates are generated and modified tests of Giacomini and White (2006) are conducted to compare the performance of Taylor rule models and the random walk. Our contribution is twofold. First, we find that in general, Taylor rule models generate tighter forecast intervals than the random walk, given that their intervals cover out-of-sample exchange rate realizations equally well. This result is more pronounced at longer horizons. Our results suggest a connection between exchange rates and economic fundamentals: economic variables contain information useful in forecasting the distributions of exchange rates. The benchmark Taylor rule model is also found to perform better than the monetary and PPP models. Second, the inference framework proposed in this paper for forecast-interval evaluation can be applied in a broader context, such as inflation forecasting, not just to the models and interval forecasting methods used in this paper.
  • Topic: Economics, Exchange Rate Policy, Models
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Joseph Gagnon
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: Sharp exchange rate depreciations, or currency crashes, are associated with poor economic outcomes in industrial countries only when they are caused by inflationary macroeconomic policies. Moreover, the poor outcomes are attributable to inflationary policies in general and not the currency crashes in particular. On the other hand, crashes caused by rising unemployment or external deficits have always had good economic consequences with stable or falling inflation rates.
  • Topic: Economics, Exchange Rate Policy, Inflation, Currency
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Berger, Jon Faust, John H. Rogers, Kai Steverson
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: We analyze retail prices and at-the-dock (import) prices of speciÖc items in the Bureau of Labor Statisticsí(BLS) CPI and IPP databases, using both databases simultaneously to identify items that are identical in description at the dock and when sold at retail. This identiÖcation allows us to measure the distribution wedge associated with bringing traded goods from the point of entry into the United States to their retail outlet. We Önd that overall U.S. distribution wedges are 50-70%, around 10 to 20 percentage points higher than that reported in the literature. We discuss the implications of this for measuring the size of the "pure" tradeables sector, exchange rate pass-through, and real exchange rate determination. We Önd that distribution wedges are very stable over time but there is considerable variation across items. There is some variation across the country of origin for the imported item, for our major trading partners, but not as much as the cross-item variation. We also investigate the determinants of distribution wedges, Önding that wedges do not vary systematically with exchange rates, but are related to other features of the micro data.
  • Topic: Economics, Exchange Rate Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Brahima Coulibaly, Trevon Logan
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: During Apartheid, there was little need for redistributional policies or to borrow for public works since the vast majority of the population was underserved. With the arrival of a representative democracy in 1994, however, South Africa faced a unique problem-- providing new and improved public services for the majority of its citizens while at the same time ensuring that filling this void would not undermine macroeconomic stability. Over the past fifteen years, policy makers have achieved macrostability, but progress on social needs has been below expectations and South Africa continues to lag behind its peers. This paper reviews the progress made so far and examines the challenges ahead for the upcoming administration. Our analysis suggest an increase in skill formation as a possible solution to the policy dilemma of fullfilling the outsized social demands while maintaining macrostability.
  • Topic: Apartheid, Economics, Political stability, Welfare
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa, Southern Africa
  • Author: Shaghil Ahmed
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper builds a model of two types of Chinese exports, those processed and assembled laregely from imported inputs ("processed" exports) and "non- processed" exports. Based on this model, the sensitivity of Chinese exports to exchange rate changes is empirically examined. Unlike previous work, the estimation period includes the net real appreciation of the renminbi that has occurredoverthepastthreeyears. Theresultsshowthatgreaterexchangerate appreciation dampens export growth, both for non-processed and processed ex- ports, with the estimated cumulative price elasticity being substantially greater thanunity. WhenthesourceoftheincreaseintheChineserealexchangerateis appreciations against the currencies of other emerging Asian trading partners, the e§ect on processing exports is positive but insignÖcant, while the e§ect on non-processing exports is signiÖcantly negative. By contrast, when the source of the increase in the Chinese real exchange rate is appreciation against Chinaís advanced-economy trading partners, the e§ects on both types of exports are negative. These results are consistent with the predictions of the theoretical model. Counterfactualsimulationsbasedontheestimatedmodelstronglysug- gest that if the trade-weighted real renminbi had appreciated at an annual rate of 10 percent per quarter since mid-2005, Chinese real exports would have been roughly 30 percent lower today. Thus greater exchange rate áexibility could contribute to lowering Chinaís huge trade surplus through restraining growth of exports.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Exchange Rate Policy, Exports
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Emine Boz, Ceyhun Bora Durdu, Nan Li
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper shows that labor markets of emerging economies are characterized by large fluctuations in wages while employment fluctuations are subdued. We find that a real business cycle model of a small open economy that embeds a Mortensen-Pissarides type of search-matching frictions can account for these aforementioned regularities. Moreover, the joint interaction of countercyclical interest rates and search-matching frictions can go a long way in accounting for higher consumption variability relative to output and countercyclical current account observed in emerging markets. Extending this baseline model to incorporate procyclical variations in the technical efficiency at which matches are generated, the model can match the unemployment variability observed in the data.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Davide Debortoli, Ricardo Nunes
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: We analyze how public debt evolves when successive policymakers have different policy goals and cannot make credible commitments about their future policies. We consider several cases to be able to disentangle and quantify the respective effects of imperfect commitment and political disagreement. Absent political turnover, imperfect commitment drives the long-run level of debt to zero. With political disagreement, debt is a sizeable fraction of GDP and increasing in the degree of polarization among parties, no matter the degree of commitment. The frequency of political turnover does not produce quantitatively relevant effects. These results are consistent with much of the existing empirical evidence. Finally, we find that in the presence of political disagreement the welfare gains of building commitment are lower.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David M. Arseneau, Sanjay K. Chugh
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: A growing body of evidence suggests that ongoing relationships between consumers and firms may be important for understanding price dynamics. We investigate whether the existence of such customer relationships has important consequences for the conduct of both long-run and short-run policy. Our central result is that when consumers and firms are engaged in long-term relationships, the optimal rate of price inflation volatility is very low even though all prices are completely flexible. This finding is in contrast to those obtained in first-generation Ramsey models of optimal fiscal and monetary policy, which are based on Walrasian markets. Echoing the basic intuition of models based on sticky prices, unanticipated inflation in our environment causes a type of relative price distortion across markets. Such distortions stem from fundamental trading frictions that give rise to long-lived customer relationships and makes pursuing inflation stability optimal.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Houtan Bastani, Luca Guerrieri
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: A key application of automatic differentiation (AD) is to facilitate numerical optimization problems. Such problems are at the core of many estimation techniques, including maximum likelihood. As one of the first applications of AD in the field of economics, we used Tapenade to construct derivatives for the likelihood function of any linear or linearized general equilibrium model solved under the assumption of rational expectations. We view our main contribution as providing an important check on finite-difference (FD) numerical derivatives. We also construct Monte Carlo experiments to compare maximum-likelihood estimates obtained with and without the aid of automatic derivatives. We find that the convergence rate of our optimization algorithm can increase substantially when we use AD derivatives.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States